Olympians and CO’s Lost Areas

Colorado’s lost hills and ski areas launched the careers of athletes in the United States for the Winter Olympics.

A very early winter Olympian was ski jumper Anders Haugen. In 1919, he skied over Loveland Pass to the site of the Prestrud Jump at Dillon Reservoir—the hill is now under water—to take part in a competition. He set a world record of 213 feet. The next year he came back and set a new record of 214 feet. He was captain of the U.S. Olympic team at the first Winter Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France.

Some twenty years later, Robert L. “Barney” McLean skied the areas around Hot Sulphur Springs: Bungalow Hill, Mount Bross, and Snow King Valley. Grand County Museum Director B. Tim Nicklas said about him, “Barney McLean, many can argue, is the best skier to ever come out of Colorado. He has twelve national championships for both jumping and alpine, and he was captain of the 1948 Winter Olympic Team.”

Maggie Armstrong skied on Maggie’s Hill at Hot Sulphur Springs in the 1960s. She remembered a substitute teacher at her one-room schoolhouse in Parshall. Johnny R. Cress took the students skiing on Thursdays at the hill. He also skied Nordic Combined on the U.S. Ski Team at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics.